What makes it easy for Vera to fool Mr. Framton Nuttel in "The Open Window"?

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mwestwood's profile pic

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Saki's wit is at its best in "The Open Window" as Vera spontaneously launches her tall-tale after obtaining information from Mr. Nuttel that assures her he will not know that she is fabricating the tragedy she describes. 

  1. Vera sees that Framton Nuttel is nervous and uncomfortable
  2. He tries to "say something that should duly flatter the niece of the moment..." and, thus, reveals his vulnerability
  3. After she asks Framton if he knows "many of the people around here," he tells her "Hardly a soul"; so Vera realizes that she has no way of knowing Mr. Stappleton or anyone else. Therefore,  she can proceed with her tall-tale.

Clearly, Vera takes advantage of the naivete and nervousness and fears of Framton Nuttel, and she does it with no remorse whatsoever as she blurs the lines between imagination and reality.

billdelaney's profile pic

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Another thing that makes it easy for Vera to fool Framton Nuttel with her ghost story is the fact that the whole family leads such a monotonous, routine existence. Vera knows in advance exactly what her aunt is going to say about the open window and exactly when the three hunters will return for tea. She even knows that Bertie will be singing the same song, with the refrain:

"I said, Bertie, why do you bound?"

It is because of the monotony of her own existence that this bright, imaginative fifteen-year-old girl decides to inject a little diversion and humor into her dull family.

Vera also finds it easy to fool Framton Nuttel because she has such a vivid imagination. She can invent the wildest stories spontaneously and make them entirely convincing. She may have been toying with the plot for her ghost story on many dreary evenings while waiting for the three hunters to return through the open window; so she would have the details worked out before the right victim ever appeared. There are several clues to suggest that she had recognized Framton Nuttel as the ideal listener to her gruesome story.

"Do you know many of the people round here?" asked the niece, when she judged that they had had sufficient silent communion.

"Then you know practically nothing about my aunt?" pursued the self-possessed young lady.

She has to be sure that the visitor is totally ignorant about her aunt and the other members of her family. Saki has created the ideal victim for this mischievous girl. Nuttel is a complete stranger to the area. He is just now beginning to try to make a few acquaintances with his letters of introduction from his sister. 


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